Browsing: General officers

Sometimes, the boss comes long ways to check in on his people. That was the case yesterday in Afghanistan, where Commandant Gen. Jim Amos and Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps Mike Barrett dropped in on six bases and outposts, fielding questions from Marines and thanking them for their service. There are at least two accounts of their travels published. A Marine Corps news release said the brass visited Marines at Camp Leatherneck, Forward Operating Base Payne, FOB Geronimo, FOB Jackson, FOB Zeebrugge and Combat Outpost Shir Ghazi. That means they traveled from Kajaki district in northern Helmand all the…

Challenge coins have become a prominent part of military culture, honoring exemplary service and dedication to duty. For that reason, it seemed relevant to point out the following: That’s the coin of Marine Gen. John Allen, the top commander in Afghanistan. The photo was posted online by the military along with this story. Here’s the flip-side of the coin, if you will:

Gen. John Allen met with the media at the Pentagon yesterday, wrapping up a whirlwind week in the U.S. highlighted by the NATO summit in Chicago. To say he took some hardball questions would be an understatement. With the drawdown of U.S. forces in Afghanistan underway, Allen was asked how troops will be withdrawn, whether he was concerned about force protection as troops are pulled and if the U.S.’s thorny relationship with Pakistan could undermine the war effort. Allen countered by saying he’s confident progress has been, but acknowledged the relationship with Pakistan needs serious work, especially after miscommunication and…

This week marks the 100th anniversary of Marine Corps aviation, and the service is doing it in style. If you haven’t seen this video clip yet, you’ll probably want to check it out. It begins with a message from Commandant Gen. Jim Amos, then shifts to high-speed video footage recorded in the cockpit of several different aircraft. The heavy metal muzak comes free of charge: [HTML1]

The Washington Post ran a long-form story on Gen. John Allen on Sunday, highlighting his efforts as a “triage commander” while leading the war in Afghanistan. The general has a “pragmatic focus,” the piece said. He’s “more professor and Southern gentleman than hard-bitten Marine general,” and closely studying the Russian withdrawal from Afghanistan in 1989 during a complicated withdrawal of 23,000 U.S. troops there this summer. Yesterday, we got a striking revelation about that same general: The supposedly indispensable leader of the war in Afghanistan is in line to become top commander of U.S. European Command, according to another story…

As noted here, Maj. Gen. John Toolan turned over the reins of Regional Command Southwest yesterday to Maj. Gen. Charles Gurganus, who will lead Marine forces in Helmand and Nimroz provinces this summer. Toolan has repeatedly praised Mohammad Gulab Mangal, Helmand’s provincial governor for his leadership. The general cited Mangal jumping to action as one reason why Helmand didn’t have the same kind of violent protests other parts of the country did after U.S. soldiers burned Qurans at Bagram Air Base last month. To thank Mangal and other top Afghan officials for their year-long partnership, Toolan held a farewell dinner…

The transition is official: Maj. Gen. Charles Gurganus took command of Marine forces in southwest Afghanistan today, becoming the commander of Regional Command Southwest. Gurganus and his headquarters element, I Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward), will lead nearly 30,000 coalition troops over the next year. It won’t be easy: they’ll oversee a massive drawdown of forces, continued combat operations and a shift toward Afghan security forces taking a leading role. Maj. Gen. John Toolan, the outgoing commander, highlighted what to expect in this long-form Marine Corps Times story published last week.

Marine Corps Times just posted a long-form story I filed analyzing what Marines in Afghanistan can expect to see in coming months. It relies mainly on a long phone conversation with Maj. Gen. John Toolan, the outgoing commander of coalition forces in Helmand and Nimroz provinces. Among the more interesting things to emerge from the interview: Toolan said Marine forces in northern Helmand province have focused recently on clearing Zamindawar, a region of volatile Kajaki district. The area is northwest of the landmark Kajaki Dam, and zig-zagged by a maze of underground irrigation tunnels. From the story: A significant target…

In next week’s Marine Corps Times, we’ll have a package of stories highlighting what’s coming this summer for Marines in Afghanistan. Much of it comes from an interview I did Friday with Maj. Gen. John Toolan, the top commander in Helmand and Nimroz provinces, where 17,000 Marines are deployed. We covered a lot of ground, some of which appeared in this breaking news story last week. Then I asked the general if there was anything else he wanted to touch on. Not surprisingly, he said he was proud of the troops under his command. But he also added a candid…

On Friday, Marine Gen. John Allen, the commander of all coalition forces in Afghanistan, visited a forward operating base in eastern Nangarhar province, where the day prior a man protesting the Koran-burning scandal shot and killed two U.S. soldiers. It’s a passionate address and a unique look at this Allen’s leadership style. You can watch the video below. To learn more about Gen. John Allen, check out Marine Corps Times’ profile.

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